The Dandy Warhols
Why You So Crazy?
Introduced to the universe in 1994, The Dandy Warhols arrived in something of a zeitgeist–no man’s land. They were kinda “alt” when those bands were already fading from relevance; they were a guitar band seven or eight years before The Strokes and The White Stripes; and they were another bunch of freako weirdos—a breed that can always grab a bit of critical acclaim, but are never really invited to the A-list parties. Of course, they’ve probably always thought the people at those parties were a terrible bore. And their appropriately titled new album Why You So Crazy? proves right from the get-go that boring is something they will never, ever be.
A forty-second intro jauntily tips a hat to “Fred ’n’ Ginger” (“It’s like I’m floating in heaven with you / Wonderful you”). Then, after an eerie little psychedelic detour (“Terraform”), things go totally hog-wild with the new wave square dance stomper “Highlife,” Zia McCabe convincingly threatening, “I’m gonna live the high life ’til I die!” A really fuzzy guitar solo seems to drive her point home.
To be sure, it would seem after twenty-five years, the Dandys just wanna have fun. And so we get kooky, atonal funk (“Thee Elegant Bum”); The Kinks kind of crossed with Devo on “Small Town Girls”; the bouncy, spoken-word of “Motor City Steel,” which seems to be something like a Jim Carroll homage; and then a six-minute closer that suggests they serendipitously discovered a couple of Chopin piano concertos in a Portland—or Poland—bargain bin.
In between all this, The Dandy Warhols—naturally—lay down a few of their most dementedly delightful modern psych classics. Seriously: it’s genuinely hard to imagine that substance abuse was not involved in the making of the languidly, dementedly druggy “To the Church.”
Is their tenth album a masterpiece? Absolutely not; but then, that’s always been sort of besides the point. The fact that Courtney Taylor-Taylor and crew still think they can get away with such unapologetic Mad-Hattering is enough to make you hope the entire planet isn’t controlled by the dark forces of greed and banality.
As Ms. McCabe so eloquently shouts it, “Have another drink and say a toast!”